News has been shared that the BBC’s funding will be frozen at £159 for the next two years, with the licence fee abolished completely in 2027.
The current culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, is expected to announce that the cost of an annual licence, required to watch live television and access iPlayer services, will remain at the current figure until 2024 before rising slightly for the following three years.
2027 will then see be the end of the current licence fee funding model for the BBC.
Nadine Dorries has Tweeted, ‘This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.’ (see below)
The Guardian wrote that the decision, confirmed by Government sources, is part of a range of measures designed to shore up public support for Boris Johnson after he faced calls to resign as Prime Minister. The BBC will have to negotiate with the Government over an entirely new funding model when the final licence fee funding deal expires in 2027 – with potential options including a subscription service, part-privatisation, or direct Government funding.
Today’s Mail on Sunday quoted an ally of Dorries as saying: ‘There will be a lot of anguished noises about how it will hit popular programmes, but they can learn to cut waste like any other business. This will be the last BBC licence fee negotiation ever. Work will start next week on a mid-term review to replace the charter with a new funding formula. It’s over for the BBC as they know it.’
A BBC source said of the licence fee proposals, ‘There has been similar speculation before. There are very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do for the British public, and the creative industries and the UK around the world. Anything less than inflation would put unacceptable pressure on the BBC finances after years of cuts.’